ALASI2018: Innovating for Impact Workshop

We’re pleased to announce this ALASI 2018 Workshop

Innovating Learning Analytics for Sustainable Impact

Simon Buckingham Shum, Cassandra Colvin, Shane Dawson,
Danny Liu, Pablo Munguia, Yi-Shan Tsai


This workshop will explore the strategies that institutions are adopting to balance two key drivers  of learning analytics initiatives:

  1. Research & Innovation: the desire and need to conduct rigorous research (e.g. in order to develop learning analytics that are not available in current products to advance future-oriented teaching and learning strategies; to answer complex questions specific to the institution’s context; to build the university’s research profile)
  2. Sustainable Solutions: the need for robust, usable analytics infrastructure that is trusted by, and useful for, educators, students, the IT division, the data warehouse team, the academic development team, etc… (e.g. to ensure that tools work smoothly, and are easily learnt; to tackle immediate, pressing needs around data; to ensure that data is secure, and reliably captured ).

Typically, these two drivers pull in different directions. Innovative educational technologies typically fail to move beyond the “exploratory, exciting prototype” stage (Scanlon, et al. 2013). In their analysis of the state of the field in Australia, Colvin, et al. (2016) identified two clusters of universities: those who saw analytics as a more research-intensive vehicle for pedagogical innovation, and those seeking vendor solutions for pressing problems (such as student attrition). These conceptions implicate different stakeholders, with different success criteria.

However, are these tensions inevitable, or irreparable?Can the academic invention and rigour of good learning analytics research be harnessed to innovate solutions to strategic problems? Can R&D be accelerated and augmented so that it benefits more end users, more quickly, in sustainable and ethical ways  ? Although far from being solved, progress is being made on these questions (e.g. Buckingham Shum and McKay, 2018). We might also ask how do we advance research in institutions that are not encouraging it, seeing analytics ‘simply’ as a technical solution to be licensed from a vendor?

Please see the full workshop description (pdf), register for ALASI, and post your thoughts here to help seed the event…


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